News & Media

2018 Election Recap

91% of MDPAC-endorsed candidates win

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

As in years past, candidates endorsed by the Michigan Doctors’ Political Action Committee (MDPAC), the political arm of the Michigan State Medical Society (MSMS), won their respective elections at a high rate, with 77 of 85 winning their races. The voice of Michigan physicians carried a powerful message and pro-medicine candidates won in many key races.

State Elections

For the first time in 32 years, Democrats won the races for Governor, Attorney General, and Secretary of State with Gretchen Whitmer, Dana Nessel, and Jocelyn Benson winning their races, respectively. MDPAC did not endorse any candidate in these races but looks forward to amplifying the voice of physicians to these candidates in their new roles.

or the Michigan Supreme Court, MDPAC endorsed candidate Justice Elizabeth Clement, who was successful in her re-election, while Justice Kurtis Wilder, who was also endorsed by MDPAC, was narrowly defeated by Megan Cavanaugh. With the defeat of Justice Wilder, the court will now have a 4-3 constructionist majority that is vital for keeping tort reform in place.

The Michigan State Senate will stay in Republican control as it has since 1983. The Republicans will hold a majority of 22-16 as Democrats were successful in winning some key races, notably in Oakland and Kent Counties. A highlight among these races was the successful election of MSMS Past-President John Bizon, MD (R-Battle Creek), to the 19th Senate District. Doctor Bizon will have the distinction of being the only physician out of 148 state lawmakers. It is anticipated that Senator Mike Shirkey (R-Clark Lake) will serve as the next Senate Majority Leader.

The Michigan House also will also stay under Republican control by a margin of 58-52. Democrats made a net gain of five seats as they were successful in flipping six seats previously held by Republicans while only losing one seat that was previously held by their party. Republicans were successful in holding onto the majority winning by narrow margins competitive districts. Notable non-incumbent MDPAC-endorsed candidates who won their races include Julie Brixie (D-East Lansing) and Matt Hall (R-Marshall). At this time, it is anticipated that Rep. Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) will be the next Speaker of the House.

Federal Elections

Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-East Lansing) was successful in winning her fourth term to the United States Senate over a spirited challenge by veteran and businessman John James (R-Oakland). Senator Stabenow defeated Mr. James by approximately six percentage points. She will continue to serve in the minority as at least four Democratic Senators lost in other states, picking up one seat in Nevada.

The Michigan Delegation to the United States House followed the trend of the rest of the country as two seats previously held by Republicans were won by Democrats. Incumbent Mike Bishop (R-Rochester) was defeated by first-time candidate Elissa Slotkin (D-Oakland) in the 8th District. Haley Stephens (D-Oakland) defeated Lena Epstein (R-Oakland) in the 11th District vacated by the retirement of Congressman David Trott (R-Birmingham). These wins contributed to the Democrats retaking the U.S. House for the first time since 2010.

Physicians Running for Office

A number of Michigan physicians ran for office in this election cycle:

  • MSMS member and Oakland County physician, Anil Kumar, MD, appears to have successfully won a seat on the Wayne State University Board of Governors
  • Robert Davidson, MD, was unsuccessful in his bid to defeat Congressman Bill Huizenga (R-Holland) in Michigan’s 2nd Congressional District
  • Matt Longjohn, MD, was unsuccessful in his bid to defeat Congressman Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph) in Michigan’s 6th Congressional District

For questions on these elections or to join MDPAC, please visit or contact Joshua Richmond, Senior Director, Physician Engagement & Organizational Integration at